Communications / Public Affairs, Press Releases
For Immediate Release
Contact: Judith Platt (202) 220-4551
Acacia O’Connor (202) 220-4550
Publishers Praise New Legislation to Safeguard Copyright in Research Works
Washington, DC, September 11, 2008: The Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (PSP) today welcomed the introduction of legislation to protect the rights of authors and publishers of copyrighted, peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, and praised the Chairman and key members of the House Judiciary Committee for their leadership in focusing attention on a serious threat to the scientific and scholarly publishing community.
At a hearing held today on H.R. 6845, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property examined the implications of a government mandate that relies on a Federal agency’s funding of scientific research. The mandate allows the agency to freely distribute copyrighted articles authored by the funding recipients for publication in scientific journals, despite the fact that such distribution competes with and undercuts the rights of journal publishers who acquire copyright in such articles from their authors after putting the manuscripts through significant quality assurance processes of peer review and determination of acceptability for publication.
The legislation was introduced in response to a recent government mandate requiring publishers to surrender their peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, without compensation, for worldwide online distribution by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within 12 months after publication. The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act would recognize the importance of the added value that journal publishers contribute to ensure the integrity of such articles as key components of the nation’s public record on scientific research, and would help keep the Federal Government from undermining copyright protection for journal articles where private-sector publishers have added such significant value. The legislation would address serious concerns that the mandate is being implemented in a manner that is inconsistent with U.S. copyright law and that undermines our nation’s ability to comply with international treaty obligations.
Allan Adler, AAP Vice President for Government and Legal Affairs said: “It’s important to remember that the Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles—publishers do, and that public access to the results of publicly-funded research is currently available and expanding through investments and innovations by journal publishers without any need for Government intervention that diminishes copyright protections. This bill helps to preserve the incentives for peer-review publishing that ensures the quality and integrity of published scientific research, and thus benefits our whole society.”
Mr. Adler pointed out that “under the America COMPETES Act, Congress recently directed the National Science Foundation to provide public access to the results of NSF-funded research by making all ‘final project reports and citations of published research documents’ available to the public in a timely manner and in electronic form through the NSF’s website, along with a ‘readily accessible summary of the outcomes of NSF-sponsored projects,’ without compromising the copyright protections in the research work that are published in peer-reviewed journals.”
Background information and a detailed discussion of the concerns addressed by the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act can be found online at: www.pspcentral.org. For additional information contact PSP Executive Director John Tagler (email@example.com, or 212-255-0200 ext. 223).
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry, with more than 300 members that include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as many smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. Members of AAP’s Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) include more than 100 professional societies, commercial publishers and university presses that publish the vast majority of books, journals, computer software, databases and websites that are used in the U.S. by scholars and professionals in the fields of science, medicine, technology, business, law, reference, social science and the humanities.